Braid developer Jonathan Blow hopes to revive the adventure genre with his next game, The Witness. By “the adventure genre”, he means the pure-exploration games you’ve seen in the likes of Myst.
Unlike most games, where environment is mostly eye candy to gawk at, Blow intends on placing details into the architecture that may reveal more about the story. He’s so serious about the environment, in fact, that he’s working with FOURM design and David Fletcher Studio, two architecture firms.
“When entering a new location, you probably first notice the most basic elements of its structure: where you can walk to easily, versus where you can’t; what puzzles or goals are calling for your attention, and what walls or doors might be preventing you from getting to them. If this is all you care about, you can then play through the area in a very utilitarian fashion. But if you have an eye for detail, you may notice the elements of modern construction shoring up the design of an older structure with a different purpose. The design of the new structure tells you something about what the newer guys were doing there, and how it differs from what the older guys were doing there,” says Blow, on The Witness website.
Blow hopes that the extra details on each of the buildings will not only give the player a little more of the back story behind what’s going on. After all, you’re dropped into the game with no information. He also hopes that the added realism to the buildings set a more serious tone and give the game “further gravitas”, if you will.